Our study consists of a randomized questionnaire module that will be implemented as part of a large representative survey. The questionnaire will be conducted with registered refugees and their neighboring host communities across four states in Malaysia, exploring facets such as living conditions, labor market characteristics, and interactions between refugees and hosts.
We are targeting refugee populations and host community members living in close proximity to each other in the regions of Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang and Johor in Malaysia.
Our survey sample will cover approximately 2,800 refugee households (including 1,000 Rohingya refugee households, 1,000 non-Rohingya refugee households from Myanmar, 800 refugee households from other countries) and around 1,400 host community households across 34 mukims (districts) in 4 states of Malaysia.
As part of this survey, respondents will be randomly exposed to different narrative vignettes about a fictitious member of the in-group or two different out-groups with identical or different labor characteristics.
In the case where participants are assigned to an out-group narrative, we distinguish between "close" and "distant" out-groups. For respondents in the refugee group, they are presented with narratives featuring either a refugee from the same identity (in-group), a refugee from a different identity (out-group A, close), or a Malaysian individual (out-group B, distant). Conversely, respondents in the Malaysian (local hosts) group will encounter narratives about a fictitious individual who is either another Malaysian (in-group), a refugee born in Malaysia (out-group A, close), or a refugee born in another country (out-group B, distant). This grouping approach allows us to delve into a unique aspect of the Malaysian context. Given the protracted refugee situation without easy pathways to legal residency or employment rights in Malaysia, there exists a notable number of individuals who were born in Malaysia but still carry a "refugee" status as second- or third-generation refugees. For refugees, our focus lies in investigating biases within the diverse refugee community and gaining insights into their perceptions of individuals who, like them, possess refugee status but belong to different nationalities.
The second dimension of randomization within the vignette relates to the fictitious character’s labor market characteristics, such as their occupation. Our experiment randomly varies this information across respondents so that the occupation either matches or is different from the main occupation exerted by the respondent’s household.
The study evaluates the interplay between perceived labor market competition and out-group discrimination. Based on the outcomes of our experiment, we aim to analyze the prevalent attitudes towards the out-group among hosts and refugees in Malaysia, and assess the extent to which these attitudes are influenced by different concepts of the “out-group”. Moreover, we will ask whether perceived labor market competition is an important driver of discriminatory attitudes towards the out-group.
The intervention in Malaysia is planned to start on November, 8th 2023 and end on March, 31st 2024.